The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(I wrote this yesterday while Frances was sleeping, that is, while she underwent surgery on her hand. As you will read, she provided a fascinating insight on the theme of yesterday's message as we were on the way to the hospital. The surgery went well, by the way, and thanks for the prayers I know you will pray for her rehab. Glen).
Part 2 - Folding, Preparing, Sweeping
My wife Frances made an excellent point about yesterday's message concerning the mystery of God's working through the prayers of His trusting sons and daughters in Christ.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men" (I Timothy 2:1).
Regarding the question of why our Heavenly Father so involves us in His working, Frances reminded me of the days when our children were very young. We involved them in household activities and chores long before their help actually helped. Folding clothes, preparing food for cooking, sweeping the floor, and any other number of necessary tasks could far more easily have been accomplished without the children's participation. However, if they were to learn valuable lessons about personal responsibility and the joy of participation with others, we needed to let them fold, prepare, and sweep in a manner that may not have been up to our standards, but would help them to become the people we wanted them to be.
Applying this to God's working, the analogy shines brightly. How much easier it would be for Him to simply, as in the original forming of creation, simply say it rather than involve us in His doings us by calling us to pray it. Certainly, our Lord does many things in His creation unilaterally and with no human involvement. However, He also acts or doesn't act in many matters based on our praying. This would certainly seem a significant inconvenience to the fulfillment of His purposes. Scripture confirms that it is. "Ye have not because ye ask not" (James 4:2). Our spiritual education and maturing means that much to Him, far more than it does to earthly parents who involve their children even before they can adequately perform their duties. Our Father works that we may "grow up into Him in all things," meaning He must fulfill His ultimate purposes amid the challenges we present to Him (Ephesians 4:15).
Of course, God will "finish the work" and fulfill "the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 9:28; Ephesians 3:11). He is that good, that great, that present, that involved, that wise, that able, and that powerful. He can and does grant real freedom to human beings, sees them use and misuse it, but nevertheless will perfectly finish and fulfill His ultimate intentions in Christ. How He does this, we do not know. That He does it is beyond question. This includes our praying. We may do it well sometimes, poorly at others, and sometimes, not at all. Things will happen and not happen accordingly, with consequences. Amid all, however, our Heavenly Father wondrously performs the miracle of working through faithful and fickle humanity to execute the purposes that have existed in His heart from everlasting. "God… worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:3; 11).
Little wonder that the Apostle Paul, when pondering such matters regarding God's purposes for national Israel in Romans 9-11, finally stilled the pondering of his wondering mind for the praising of his worshipful heart:
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).
"Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). No wiser request has ever been offered than the disciples' appeal for their Master's illumination regarding prayer. We do well to echo our brethren of old because much of our Heavenly Father's working rides upon the twin rails of our asking and His answering. Certainly, this constitutes much mystery, but we can know enough to acknowledge our privileged responsibility in the vital calling of prayer. We can also know enough to fall before our Heavenly Father in amazed wonder that while we may not fold, prepare, and sweep as well as we one day will, He nevertheless grants to us the gift of a salvation that not only redeems us, but calls us to serve as "workers together with Him" as He fulfills His glorious purposes in Christ (I Corinthians 6:1).
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Weekly Memory Verse
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men."
(I Timothy 2:1)
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